2013 NCAA Tournament Picks: West


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2013 NCAA Tournament: West Bracket Picks


2013 NCAA Tournament: West Bracket First Round



No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Southern
What the hell is Southern? Southern what?

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1 Gonzaga


No. 8 Pittsburgh vs. No. 9 Wichita State
I have Pitt a lot higher than Wichita State in my rankings. KenPom does as well. Vegas backs that up, with the Panthers being a 4.5-point favorite.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 8 Pittsburgh


No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Ole Miss
People may want to jump on the Marshall Henderson bandwagon, but the fact is that teams that make an inexplicable run to win conference tournaments usually flame out in the Big Dance. Plus, I don’t see Bo Ryan losing in the first round.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 5 Wisconsin


No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 13 La Salle
Another contest involving another stupid play-in game. Can’t we just revert to 64 teams, please? Kansas State should move on to the Round of 32 regardless.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 4 Kansas State




No. 6 Arizona vs. No. 11 Belmont
This sucks. I wanted to pick Belmont as a sleeper Sweet 16 team. Belmont, a school named after a family of heroic vampire hunters, is 33rd in my rankings, thanks to its offense and defense both being in the top 60. However, I really like Arizona. The Wildcats are coached well and have tons of talent. They were robbed of a Pac-12 Tournament championship because of terrible officiating.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 6 Arizona


No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 14 Harvard
The Harvard players will employ the New Mexico players in about a decade. Too bad that doesn’t apply to this game.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 3 New Mexico


No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 Iowa State
Iowa State is favored over Notre Dame. Maybe it’s because people hate those hideous lime jerseys. Or maybe it’s that Mike Brey-coached teams have flopped in the NCAA Tournament.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 10 Iowa State


No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Iona
Iona has the 21st-ranked offense according to KenPom. The Buckeyes could lose if they play half-asleep, but picking a 15 over a 2-seed isn’t very smart.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 2 Ohio State





2013 NCAA Tournament: West Bracket Second Round



No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 8 Pittsburgh
ESPN has Pitt over Gonzaga as a trendy upset, but three things: First, Pitt may not even beat Wichita State. Second, I don’t trust Jamie Dixon because his teams always disappoint. Third, Pitt is traveling a great distance to play this game. Gonzaga is essentially at home.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1 Gonzaga


No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 5 Wisconsin
I’m tempted to take Kansas State over Wisconsin. The Wildcats are slightly higher in my rankings and are playing in Kansas City. However, I can’t stomach picking Bruce Weber over Bo Ryan. Dating back to 2007, Ryan is 10-4 against Weber.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 5 Wisconsin




No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 6 Arizona
Here’s another coaching mismatch. New Mexico’s Steve Alford has never made it out of the second round with either Iowa or New Mexico. Sean Miller, meanwhile, always advances past where his teams are projected. I have the Wildcats ranked higher than New Mexico in my rankings, so I’m calling for the upset.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 6 Arizona


No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Iowa State
As I explained in the midwest section, you almost have to take all of the ones and twos in the second round because the 8-9 and 7-10 matchups are complete coin flips.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 2 Ohio State





2013 NCAA Tournament: West Bracket Sweet 16



No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 5 Wisconsin
This ties into what I was discussing earlier. I had such extreme difficulty picking the winner of Wisconsin and Kansas State that Gonzaga almost has to be my selection in the Sweet 16. In other words, I’m pretty much hedging my bet. I have the Zags higher than either the Badgers or Wildcats in my rankings anyway.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1 Gonzaga


No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Arizona
Everyone on ESPN penciled Ohio State into the Final Four. That means the Buckeyes won’t be going to the Final Four. In fact, I don’t have them making it to the Elite Eight.

Travel has a huge impact on the NCAA Tournament. Teams that have to move three time zones during the Big Dance seldom win the whole thing. It’s only happened a handful of times, and if you exclude Jim Calhoun’s Connecticut squads, it’s barely happened at all. Flying all the way to Los Angeles will really hurt Ohio State’s chances.

Oh, and like I said, I really like this Arizona squad. I have the Wildcats and Buckeyes side by side in my rankings, so this upset can definitely happen. Plus, it’ll be cool to see Sean Miller beat Thad Matta, since Miller’s Xavier squad had Ohio State on the ropes in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament until Mike Conley hit a last-second desperation three. Hopefully Miller has his players foul this time around.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 6 Arizona



2013 NCAA Tournament: West Bracket Elite Eight



No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 6 Arizona
I don’t know why everyone loves to hate on this Gonzaga squad. The Zags are quite good. They went undefeated in the Big XII. One of their losses (at Butler) shouldn’t have happened. They’re third in adjusted offense and 14th in adjusted defense (KenPom). They take care of the basketball and shoot the three well. People point to their strength of schedule, but that was 96th. A team like Kansas State was 60th, so is it that much of a difference?

It’s unusual that picking a one seed to come out of a bracket can be considered an upset, but that’s the case here. I’m going with the upset.

2013 NCAA Tournament Pick: No. 1 Gonzaga



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